Thickening ice from an eastern European cold snap is causing disruption and berthing delays at Black Sea ports, reports Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS).
While port authorities work to keep shipping lanes open, vessels heading to eastern Black Sea ports in Russia and Ukraine are also experiencing extra port charges for tugs and ice-breaking service, said the ISS release.
The Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port in Russia was closed for two days last week due to strong winds and freezing temperatures. Vessels arriving over the weekend faced one- or two-day waits for berthing.
According to Exim News Service, harbourmasters in Odessa are demanding a letter of guarantee from owners and operators of non ice-classed ships, which confirms that they will honour higher port charges arising out of ice-breaking and increased tug deployment, the report said.
"Black Sea shipping is feeling the effects of the European chill, with shipments of oil and other commodities being delayed," said ISS’ official in Turkey, Mr Kadir Kaya.
"We are aware of several ships awaiting permission to enter Novorossiysk and of delays caused by slow progress through ice fields across the region. ISS can offer advice and support to shipowners and operators on port delays and closures, and will provide services to ensure the welfare of crews," he said.